|ICLEI ExCom at work, 2005
ICLEI was formed in 1991 in preparation for the Rio Summit on Sustainability. ICLEI founders saw the need for city governments to have a voice in the international dialogue on environmental protection. ICLEI's acronym stands for “International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives.” ICLEI's members are over 1,000 cities and local jurisdictions worldwide, who participate in a variety of environmental initiatives – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting biodiversity, conserving water, purchasing and building sustainably. ICLEI’s website is www.iclei.org.
Margaret Pageler introduced Seattle to ICLEI in 1997, through legislation committing the city to participate in ICLEI's Climate Protection Campaign. Margaret was elected to the Executive Committee of ICLEI in 2003, and served till 2012 as a member on the international board. As an ICLEI ExCom member, Margaret has shared Seattle's best practices with other cities around the world. In global forums, she champions the role of city governments in achieving essential sustainability targets.
ICLEI Executive Committee Report, 2003-2005
ICLEI - Background and Seattle Perspective
2003-2006 Executive Committee Statement
Water Resource Management
2006-2009 Executive Committee Statement
2003-2006 Executive Committee Statement
Like ICLEI leaders worldwide, I am passionate about governing through
policies that both protect our people and our earth, air and water.
Through ICLEI, we learn from and support each other in making local
progress. I believe the U.S. has a special responsibility to solve
the global environmental challenges that our wasteful ways have helped
As Seattle's senior councilmember, I delivered leadership on
an array of environmental programs for 12 years, winning the Municipal
League's 2001 Regional Leadership award.
Seattle is widely recognized as a leading U.S. city taking climate
change seriously, earning one of EPA's 2003 Climate Protection Awards,
and winning the honor of hosting ICLEI's 2002 Cities for Climate
Protection National Workshop. I introduced Seattle to the global
warming issue, linked the city with ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection,
and called for an inventory of municipal greenhouse gas emissions.
Largely through actions of Seattle's municipal utilities, for which
I have been responsible, Seattle's 2000 corporate emissions are 60%
below 1990 levels.
Similarly, under my leadership, Seattle's water conservation programs
have reduced water use to 1970 levels, despite 20% population growth.
Sharing achievements and learning from others is important to me.
As an advocate of municipal solutions, I made recent presentations
at the International Water Association (Berlin 2001), ICLEI Local
Government Session (Johannesburg 2002) and Third World Water Forum
(Osaka 2003). I was the only Seattle representative at Johannesburg,
attending at my personal expense.
I believe ICLEI can leverage global Millennium Declaration commitments
to increase international support for local sustainability and water
resource initiatives. I have strong connections with the International
Water Association that may help ICLEI expand the Water Campaign to
American cities and also reach out to developing countries. My strategic
problem-solving skills and successful inter-governmental collaboration
will help ICLEI achieve these goals.
Description of Background
Born and raised in China and Taiwan, I am an internationalist -
an interest supported by Seattle's active Sister City program and
my personal travels abroad.
As a practicing attorney (UChicago Law School 1980) and community
activist, I focused on urban planning and growth management initiatives.
As a 12-year Seattle Councilmember, I have provided Seattle tangible
accomplishments in climate protection, Local Agenda 21, and water
resource management. I have chaired City
Council committees overseeing Seattle City Light, our electrical
utility, and Seattle Public Utilities for water, sewer and garbage
functions. Other achievements include:
Creating Seattle's Office of Environmental Management "greening" city
policies and facilities;
Launching Seattle's eco-procurement policies;
Reducing City vehicle emissions;
Representing local cities on Washington State Board of Health;
Chairing Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, a regional regulatory authority;
Coordinating water resource management and Seattle-regional salmon
recovery strategies, specifically by creating consortiums of local
authorities which develop and implement river-basin schemes; and
Key leader in metropolitan-wide integrated resource management as
we seek to provide water supply and stormwater services while restoring
endangered salmon runs.
Past Elected or Staff Positions
Association of Washington Cities, Executive Board, 1999-present
State Board of Health, member representing cities and towns, 1995-2002
Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, Board Chair, 1999-2001
Puget Sound Regional Council, Growth Policy Committee, 1995-present
Public Health - Seattle, King County, board member 1995-present
Seattle Water System Operating Board, Chair, 2002-present
Lake Washington Watershed, Steering Committee co-chair, 2000-present
King County Growth Management Policy Committee, member 1995-99
Regional Water Quality Committee, member, 1996-present
National League of Cities, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources
Committee, member 2000-present
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Water Resource Management
The City of Seattle has inaugurated the key elements of the Water
Campaign under Margaret Pageler's leadership. Councilmember Pageler
chairs the Council's Water and Health Committee, responsible for
water, wastewater, stormwater and other services.
In 1999, Councilmember Pageler envisioned and helped launch regional
water supply planning, convening the first meetings of the 158
water supply authorities that serve the greater Seattle metropolitan
area. These utilities are now linked in a strategic web that is
increasingly committed to promoting water conservation and protecting
fish as well as providing efficient, reliable municipal water service.
Seattle's own municipal water system, which serves 1.3 million
people, meets exceptional standards for water quality, conservation,
and environmental protection. Councilmember Pageler commissioned
a strategic analysis of water use in 1996 called the Conservation
Potential Assessment. This analysis served as the basis for the "1%
Program" - a commitment to cut water waste by conserving 1% per
person per year for ten years. The Seattle system has exceeded
that goal, and notwithstanding 20% population growth, now uses
less water than in 1972.
Seattle's primary drinking water source is a mountain reservoir
surrounded by an immense undeveloped forest. Councilmember Pageler
supported City efforts to secure all the land in the reservoir
catchment area and place it permanently in protected reserve. A
comprehensive watershed plan protects many species of endangered
fish, birds and wildlife.
Chinook salmon which migrate through Seattle's waterways, along
City shorelines and up into the protected watershed to spawn, were
declared endangered in 1999. Margaret Pageler helped develop the
intergovernmental compacts that bring together scores of cities,
towns and government authorities in the metropolitan area to work
for salmon protection. Each of the river basins now has its own
shared funding and strategy to recover salmon stocks, starting
with Chinook. Margaret works closely with colleagues across the
region to protect aquatic habitat in this fast-growing area.
Councilmember Pageler is a leader in ensuring that the City's
water resource decisions provide ample flows for fish. Seattle's
hydropower operations on the Skagit River, water supply intakes
on the Tolt and Cedar Rivers, and urban creeks and stormwater strategies
all focus on fish first. Salmon returns to the Skagit River in
2001 and 2002 were more abundant than any time since the 1930's.
The City of Seattle works to reduce pollution of streams and other
receiving waters. Stormwater management systems in Seattle are
being redesigned so that more rainfall is absorbed into the urban
soils to sustain creek levels and filter pollutants.
An enthusiastic gardener, Margaret Pageler launched a campaign
to engage home gardeners in water-efficient lawn care, pesticide
reduction, soil replenishment, and appropriate water-side plantings.
Called "Salmon-Friendly Gardening," this partnership with local
garden stores and landscapers has helped change regional standards
and practices. And it protects fish.
For Seattle's celebration of Y2K, a Millenium Creeks Initiative
focused City resources on urban creeks. Thousands of volunteers
turned out to restore degraded streams. Ongoing volunteer work,
education programs, acquisition and protection of critical habitat,
and regulatory improvements are paying off in healthy waterways.
Environmental education around water resources includes annual
release of salmon fry by schoolchildren and field trips to the
new Cedar River Watershed Education Center which Margaret Pageler
worked hard to develop.
In 2000, Councilmember Pageler launched the City's commitment
to dramatically reduce pesticide applications in City parks, golf
courses, and landscape maintenance, phasing out the most dangerous
At the International Water Association in Berlin in 2001, Councilmember
Pageler presented a paper comparing the integrated water resource
management that is being achieved voluntarily in the Seattle area
with the scheme envisioned by the European Framework Directive.
Margaret has become familiar with water and wastewater needs and
solutions in many parts of the world, particularly the developing
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(Local Agenda 21)
The City of Seattle works for sustainable development at the local
and regional level, in a program that parallels Local Agenda 21.
The City Council endorsed the Earth Charter in a 2002 resolution.
Councilmember Margaret Pageler promoted two growth management
ballot initiatives before her election to the Seattle City Council
in 1991. She then participated in implementing the Washington State
Growth Management Act which resulted from those grass roots efforts.
Councilmember Pageler served on a countywide council which adopted
growth management planning targets and strategies aimed at concentrating
growth in urban areas, reducing sprawl, and providing transportation
choices. She helped develop the benchmarking indices to measure
progress on the goals, building on a sustainability index developed
by Richard Conlin who has since joined the City Council.
Within the City limits, a comprehensive plan was adopted to ensure
that growth could be absorbed in the central City. Councilmember
Pageler worked closely with a 72,000-resident section of the City
that did detailed planning for five high-density mixed-use "urban
villages." The principles of the Comprehensive Plan for Seattle,
adopted in 1996, are the Local Action 21 principles of environmental
stewardship, economic opportunity and security, and social equity.
In 1997, Margaret Pageler created the City's Office of Environmental
Management which ensures that environmental standards are incorporated
in all municipal decisions and operations. The municipal auto shops,
paint shops and the like had their first environmental audits because
of Margaret's initiative. The City has recycled more waste, upgraded
its facilities for energy and water efficiency, and reduced its
use of pesticides dramatically as a result of this program.
Eco-procurement and sustainable building practices are important
City of Seattle policies. Councilmember Pageler sponsored the first
ventures, which have now become major City initiatives. The city
buys recycled-content paper, sustainably-harvested wood products,
and least-toxic landscaping products. We are working to eliminate
mercury and other bioaccumulative toxins.
Sustainable transportation is a cornerstone of Seattle's growth
policy. The City subsidizes a range of Transportation Demand Management
(TDM) strategies including carpooling, parking controls and pricing,
traffic calming, cycling and pedestrian improvements and the highly-successful
Flexcar, a shared auto program. City development standards require
new projects to incorporate non-car-based alternatives. One result
is the U-Pass, a University of Washington multi-use permit that
was developed by Heidi Wills, now also a Seattle councilmember,
to substantially increase transit usage by students and faculty.
Recognizing that communities of poverty are often located in areas
of pollution and stress, Councilmember Pageler used her position
on the Washington State Board of Health to enact policies on environmental
justice. Her Health Board work also addressed ethnic disparities
in health outcomes, especially infant mortality, asthma, and addictions.
She has effectively directed strategic resources to tackle those
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The City of Seattle first joined the Cities for Climate Protection
Campaign in early 1997 thanks to legislation sponsored by Councilmember
Margaret Pageler, who chaired the City Council's committee on Utilities
and Environmental Management. Margaret was a founding member of
the Northwest Climate Change Alliance and she made this an issue
of focus for city government.
Since then, Seattle has become widely recognized nationally and
internationally as one of the leading US cities taking serious
measures to tackle climate change. For example, Seattle's leadership
in climate protection earned it one of EPA's 2003 Climate Protection
Award, one of 13 organizations, individuals and communities internationally
to receive the award.
Because of Seattle's experience and leadership in climate protection,
ICLEI selected Seattle to host the 2002 annual Cities for Climate
Protection National Workshop, an event that elicited comments like "best
ever" from ICLEI staff and CCP participants alike. It was also
in 2002 that Seattle was awarded the CCP's fourth "star", representing
the fourth milestone in measuring tangible progress toward climate
The City of Seattle is committed to tackling global climate change
as a profoundly local issue. Some of the specific actions taken
In 1997, Councilmember Pageler secured more than a million dollars
in City funds for energy conservation projects in City facilities.
As a result, Seattle was among the first large cities in the country
to convert our traffic signals to LEDs, saving millions of kilowatt
hours. Today, nearly all of Seattle's large municipal offices,
shops, garages, etc. have been retrofitted with high efficiency
lighting. Energy savings from this program were estimated to be
6.4 million kWh in 2001 - equivalent to taking 551 vehicles off
the road for a year.
In 2001, the City decided to meet all of Seattle City Light's electric
power needs with no net greenhouse emissions. We are meeting this commitment
to no net greenhouse pollution with our existing hydroelectric facilities,
new renewables like wind and continued aggressive investment in our
internationally recognized conservation programs. City Light is obligated
to mitigate for all greenhouse gas emissions - becoming the first large
electric utility in the country to commit to being climate neutral.
Councilmember Heidi Wills, who now chairs the Council's Energy and
Environmental Policy Committee, spearheads this initiative.
the City completed its inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, both
for its corporate emissions and for the community emissions. The
inventory of corporate emissions shows that through City Light's actions,
changes in solid waste management and banning logging in its 96,000
acre watershed, the City's 2000 emissions are 60% below 1990 levels.
Seattle is the first City in the country to decide that all our new
and renovated City facilities will be sustainable - designed and built
to a Silver LEED standard. City of Seattle facilities will be among
the most energy efficient in the nation, and many will have green roofs
for rainwater absorption. Councilmember Richard Conlin promoted this
policy. Among the new municipal buildings either completed or under
construction are a new central library, City Hall, Justice Center,
Opera House, water treatment plant and a number of branch libraries
and community centers.
The City's convenient curbside recyling program is estimated to have
avoided more than 535,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalents in 2000. Seattle
was one of the first cities to adopt solid waste rates that provide
our residents and businesses a strong motivation to reduce waste. Councilmember
Pageler is supporting a new set of strategies to achieve a 60% recycling
The City fleet is also a key part of our energy conservation and
emissions reduction program. The City fleet now includes 35 hybrid
electric cars with more to be added every year. Ten Segways (battery
operated personal mobility vehicles) have been purchased to replace
cars used to read water meters. Margaret Pageler personally drives
a hybrid electric car.
Seattle is a long time partner in the ICLEI Climate Wise program.
Through this effort, Seattle City Light partners with commercial and
industrial customers to identify greehouse gas emission reduction strategies.
Over the last few years, over 35 business partners have been recruited
to reduce their CO2 emissions as well as reduce their energy consumption.
Councilmember Pageler chaired the board of the Puget Sound Clean
Air Agency, a regional regulatory authority, for three years. Puget
Sound Clean Air partners with businesses and local governments on programs
to reduce emissions in fleets of cars, buses, trucks and heavy equipment,
even working to clean up lawnmowers. The Clean Diesel Initiative is
providing ultra-low sulfur diesel to retrofitted schools buses, garbage
trucks and other heavy vehicles in the four-country metropolitan agency.
Councilmember Pageler presented this program at ICLEI's Johannesburg
conference in September 2002.
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